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Langtry, Lillie, 1853-1929, English actress, b. Jersey, Channel Islands; known as the Jersey Lily. One of the first English women of elevated social rank to go on the stage, she made her debut at the Haymarket theater in 1881 after her husband, a diplomat, failed financially. Never considered a great actress, Langtry was noted for her great beauty and for her affair with Edward VII. Oscar Wilde wrote Lady Windermere's Fan for her. In 1899 she married Sir Hugo Gerald de Bathe.

See her memoirs, The Days I Knew (1925); P. Sichel, The Jersey Lily (1958).

This article refers to Langtry, Texas. For other uses, see Langtry (disambiguation).

Langtry is an unincorporated community in Val Verde County, Texas, United States. The community is notable as the location of "Judge" Roy Bean, the "Law West of the Pecos" (Bean was actually a justice of the peace).


Langtry was originally established in 1882 by Southern Pacific as a grading camp named "Eagle Nest." It was later renamed for George Langtry, an engineer and foreman who had supervised a Chinese work crew building the railroad. Roy Bean arrived soon after and set up a tent saloon on railroad land.

In 1884 a post office opened, and in 1892 the town was reported to have a general store, a railroad depot, and two saloons (one of them Bean's "The Jersey Lilly"), which was named after the Jersey actress Lillie Langtry, who was unrelated to George Langtry.

After Bean's death in 1903 the town began to decline after the highway was moved slightly north for a more direct route, thus bypassing the town. In the 1920s Southern Pacific moved its facilities away from the town, and the town population dwindled to 50. By the 1970s the population dipped as low as 40. Tourism to the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center continues to keep the town alive and has helped to increase its population back up to 145 according to the 1990 census.

Depictions in the media

The town's exposure in mass media helped to renew interest in the town.

  • 1940's The Westerner, featuring Walter Brennan as antagonist Judge Roy Bean and Gary Cooper as a fictional interloper, reiterated the myth of the town's naming for Lillie Langtry.
  • In 1956 Roy Bean hit the TV airwaves and included many stars of the day such as Edgar Buchanan.
  • In 1972 the movies sparked interest with The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, starring Paul Newman.


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